November 23, 2020
The right to education was declared a fundamental right in 2010 with the insertion of article 25A in the Constitution of Pakistan. This upgraded previous provisions whereby the State was committed “to remove illiteracy and provide free and compulsory secondary education”[37-(b)]and “provid[e] education to citizens irrespective of gender, caste, creed and race” [38-(d)]. However, these rights remain non-justiciable as they are subject to the availability of resources.
Education in Pakistan has always remained a low priority, with only 3% of the GDP allocated to it. April 2020 marks a decade since this act was inserted, but it tragically remains completely neglected. Why is this so?
What are the laws passed for 25A? Why are they dormant? These are important questions for all citizens to ask. One way to engage with a fundamental right is through a clustered approach, juxtaposing fundamental rights in a manner that a particular right, such as Article 25A, can be upgraded in its scope, strength and urgency for every citizen. It is also vital to understand the laws enacted for 25A in terms of their content and status of implementation given the devolution of education since the 18th amendment to the provinces.